Will Power and Simona de Silvestro made the field for the Indianapolis 500 on Bump Day as Scott Dixon continued his rampaging run to pole position at The Brickyard.
Dixon did the deal as he claimed his fourth career pole at the home of America’s most famous race, lapping at 231.685 miles-per-hour in the non-metric USA (372.860km/h), while Power and de Silvestro survived the challenge of Bump Day and will line up on the back row of the 33-car grid after lapping in the 228mph range.
Power played safe and ran 32nd as Silvestro, who heads the first all-female crew at the 500, squeaked into the final spot.
“We’re in. Just so happy we made the race,” said Power.
“You can never underestimate this place. You never come in thinking it’s a given that you’re just gonna be fast and you’re gonna to get in.
“The field is way more competitive than it has ever been. But we’ve got what we’ve got right now.”
“At the end of the day, it’s all about opportunity. And I think we have it right now and everybody knows it,” said de Silvestro, the former Supercars racer.
At the front of the field, Dixon converted his pace-setting run in qualifying into top spot in the Fast Nine shoot-out.
The super-quick Kiwi had to wait and run last, although there was some advantage as his Ganassi team mate Colton Herta set the bar with a lap that was eventually good enough for second on the grid, as Honda took the top two spots and Rinus Veekay was the quickest of the Chevrolets to complete the front row.
“I was able to watch Colton’s four laps. Wish I hadn’t before I went out. I knew his consistency was probably going to be a tick better than the other two, and it sure was,” said Dixon.
“It was pretty hairy. Glad it’s over. It was definitely pretty tense.”
With the field now locked for Indy 2021, Scott McLaughlin sits solidly in the frame for Rookie of the Year honours from 17th. But Team Penske needs to improve massively on race day to be in contention for the win, as he was the quickest of the team’s quartet ahead of Josef Newgarden in 21st, Simon Pagenaud in 26th and then Power.
As Dixon celebrated, the he gave a surprising insight on his motivation for the pole run.
“I think it was probably my wife giving me the hardest time for not getting a pole for a while. The last one was here three years ago or was it longer?”, he said.
But he is now focussed on the race itself as the lone Australia and the two New Zealanders, as well as the transplanted Swiss miss, get ready to race.
“As we all know, it doesn’t really matter where you start, it’s where you finish. That’s going to be the focus now,” Dixon said.
“We’re starting in a great position. I know the team is going to be proud of what we achieved today. Again, it’s just the starting position. We have to work on the rest.”
Starting Line-Up – Row-by-row
|33||Simon de Silvestro||Chevrolet|